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Wishmas is a new addition to the Christmas experiences available in London. This new immersive festive experience is located at The Old Bauble Factory, just underneath Waterloo Station.

It’s from the team behind Secret Cinema, and is a advertised as a fully immersive experience, complete with live actors. It promises to be London’s ultimate family festive adventure, but what is it like? I visited towards the end of November to see for myself. Read on to discover what I thought!

What is Wishmas?

According to the Wishmas website, it is is an immersive and interactive event, taking you on a journey through Wishmas. It’s sold as being “for children of all ages” which is a slightly cheeky way of selling tickets to adults without kids. However if I’m honest, this is really aimed at children up to the age of 10 or so.

If I’m being uncharitable, it’s basically an hour of being led through a series of 4 rooms by some over-excited actors dressed as elves. Your “adventure” is mostly listening to the elves explain how wishes are transported, and how you can help save them. There are a couple of activities you join in with, plus a sing-along with Santa at the end.

However it’s Christmas, and I’ll try to be more jolly and upbeat about it! I also have to point out that as an adult without any kids in tow, I don’t think I’m the intended audience for this experience.

The experience

Your journey to Wishmas starts as you line up with the other participants, and very soon you are led into the first room – the Sorting Office.

Here you take a seat, and a Wishkeeper explains how robins store every wish before they are transported to Wishmas. There are robins flying over your heads, and even as a very grown-up kid it was easy to get into the spirit of the performance.

Next up is the sky train, which is accessed through a door way. Everyone takes their seat in a mock-up of a full-size train carriage. If you suspend some of your disbelief, the special effects do make it seem like the train is moving, taking off as it climbs over London and into the sky. However there is a problem, and the wishes being carried by the train escape.

The guides here are actors playing Santa’s elves, and are all very friendly, energetic and engaging. Their costumes are great too, and they even have realistic pointy ears.

The rest of the adventure is more interactive, and involves stopping time to get the escaped wishes back, by completing a couple of interactive tasks in different rooms.

The final stage in the adventure involves a fun sing-song led by Santa himself. Well, I say fun – it is if you are young, or young at heart but I just wasn’t quite able to get into this. But as I’ve said before, I’m not really the target audience for this show.

The whole experience lasts about 1 hour for the Standard experience, and 75 minutes for the Full experience with the bauble making.

Bauble making

At the end of the adventure, those who have paid extra for the Full Wishmas Experience are led into the bauble making experience. The standard ticket holders go straight into the Christmas market.

The bauble-making experience was actually good fun, and basically involves stuffing colourful decorations into a transparent plastic sphere which you can take home with you. Yes, they are a little cheap and tacky, but it’s a nice souvenir and I wouldn’t be ashamed to hang it on my Christmas tree. I noticed a similar empty bauble at John Lewis for £8, so the extra £10 or so to make your own is pretty good value.

Christmas market

The market is pretty small, and has just a handful of stalls. One sells fruit drinks, another sells Wishmas souvenirs and there’s a small Fortnum & Mason stall too. There’s also a drink and snack stall. Personally, I didn’t think it was that impressive, and you’re better off going to the nearby Southbank Christmas Market.

Father Christmas meet and greet

It is possible to buy an exclusive private audience with Father Christmas at the end of the show. You’ll also receive a commemorative photo and special gift, however I didn’t try this. Santa does make an appearance in the final segment of the show though, so you do get to see him.

What is Wishmas like?

If you have kids and you’re willing to get into the spirit of things then they will almost certainly love it. The set design is great, and a lot of thought and attention to detail has been put into it. The rooms are bright and colourful, with some lovely details. The cast all give 100% effort and are very cheery and convincing.

It isn’t perfect though, and some of the narrative is quite detailed at times. I also felt it could have been a bit more interactive than it was. I think it’s worth the cost if you can get one of the cheaper tickets, but I don’t think it’s worth paying nearly £100 for.

From what I saw, the kids in the group really enjoyed it. As an adult, it was fun at times, and a bit awkward at others. However it really isn’t aimed at adults. If you have young kids then it’s worth a visit. If you don’t then save your money and go to Winter Wonderland instead!

They ask that you don’t take any photos or video during the experience so unfortunately I can’t show what it was like. However there are some photos on the Wishmas website.

All you need to know

Dates: 14th November 2023 – 7th January 2024
Times: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Nearest Station: Waterloo
Address: The Old Bauble Factory, 1 Launcelot St, Waterloo, London, SE1 7AD
Cost: From £29 (standard), £39 (Full), £49 (Meet and Greet) – book online on their website.

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About the Author

An award-winning travel and landscape photographer based in London.

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